Property tycoon Mohamed Hadid’s controversial Los Angeles mega-mansion, which he hoped to sell for more than $100 million, is a ‘clear and present danger’ to nearby homes and ‘must come down,’ a judge has declared.
Judge Craig Karlan took the responsibility of demolishing the 30,000-square foot ‘eyesore’ away from Hadid and instead gave the job to a receiver he appointed – Douglas Wilson – the same receiver who oversaw the $35 million repair of Donald Trump’s California golf course when three holes collapsed into the ocean.
‘It’s unsafe and it’s dangerous… If this house came down the hill it would take a portion of the neighborhood with it,’ Judge Karlan told the LA Superior Court in Santa Monica on Wednesday.
He noted that 71 year-old Hadid’s own structural engineer reported that piles supporting the giant home were driven only 20 feet into the bedrock, instead of the 30 feet required by building regulations.
Property tycoon Mohamed Hadid’s controversial Los Angeles mega-mansion is a ‘clear and present danger’ to nearby homes and ‘must come down,’ a judge has declared.
Judge Craig Karlan ruled the 30,000-square foot was ‘clear and present danger’ to nearby homes in its exclusive Bel Air neighborhoo. Judge Karlan appointed receiver Douglas Wilson responsibility of demolishing the ‘eyesore’, which has been dubbed the ‘Starship Enterprise’
Judge Karlan said: ‘This seems to me to be a clear cut case where the property must come down.
‘We’re not talking about an extra wall or a different way into he kitchen. We’re talking about the most significant aspect of the structure – the foundation.’
Quoting from the structural engineer’s report that said, ‘existing pile columns are not adequate and could not support the structure,’ Judge Karlan added: ‘That’s black and white to me – it’s a clear and present danger. It’s not even a close call that (neighbors) are at legitimate risk of danger to their homes.’
When Hadid’s lawyer, Larry Rothstein, asked the judge if he wanted the mammoth house torn down because it doesn’t comply with building codes or because it’s a public nuisance, Judge Karlan replied ‘Both – it’s a danger to the community.’
The judge rejected Rothstein’s claim that though the half-built house does not comply with building codes, ‘it is still safe’ and inadequate piles could be retrofitted.
And when Rothstein said that before the house could be torn down there should be a study on the impact of the demolition on the site and the surrounding area, Judge Karlan retorted, ‘It’s a little late to be asking for a report now on the stability of the site.
‘This project has been there in this condition for seven or eight years.
‘If this had been any other house in LA it would have been demolished five years ago.’
Hadid, who was in court wearing his trademark black suit and tie, has a $17m loan on the property, which he has personally guaranteed, said an attorney for First Credit Bank – who estimated that the site, with it’s illegally built house on it, is now only worth about $8m
The 71-year-old is facing a civil lawsuit brought by angry neighbors who claim the half-finished project is not only an ‘eyesore’ and a ‘monstrosity’, but also a dangerously unstable hazard to their homes. Pictured: Hadid’s home and his neighbors homes below it
Judge Karlan added: ‘That’s black and white to me – it’s a clear and present danger. It’s not even a close call that (neighbors) are at legitimate risk of danger to their homes’
Judge Karlan granted a motion from the neighbors suing Hadid for the appointment of receiver Douglas Wilson to supervise the demolition of the massive house, dubbed the ‘Starship Enterprise’ because it’s so huge.
Wilson has a 30-year resume of dealing with ‘distressed’ properties worth a total of $15 billion in 35 states.
But what most impressed Judge Karlan was his handling of the $35 million restoration of the former Ocean Trails golf course in Rancho Palos Verdes which suffered a major landslide in 1999 destroying much of the 16th, 17th and 18th greens and fairways which plunged into the ocean.
The owners went bankrupt over the devastated course and its repairs and in 2002, Donald Trump scooped up the place for $27 million and renamed it Trump National Golf Club.
Like the damaged golf course, Hadid’s mansion site has major soil and slope erosion problems and, Judge Karlan – who said he had played the course – told the court: ‘It’s helpful that Mr. Douglas is familiar with slope and soil issues because he had to fix a golf course that lost three holes to the Pacific Ocean.’
Douglas told the hearing that he estimated the cost of the demolition would be ‘several million dollars’, and after a 3-5 month analysis of the work to be done, the building could be torn down in about six months.
Neighbors have been fighting for years for the demolition of the property because of all the alleged unapproved construction. The development of the home has also been an eyesore to nearby residents
Hadid – who was in court wearing his trademark black suit and tie – has a $17 million loan on the property, which he has personally guaranteed, said Michael Fazio, attorney for First Credit Bank – who estimated that the site, with it’s illegally built house on it, is now only worth about $8 million.
At a hearing before Judge Karlan last week Bruce Rudman, another attorney for Hadid, told the court his client ‘can’t afford’ to pay around $5 million for the demolition.
Nor could Hadid even pay receiver Douglas Wilson’s fee of $500,000, according to his lawyer.
Hadid’s claim to be broke were mocked by Ariel Neuman, attorney for the neighbors who said: ‘It’s amazing to me because he (Hadid) just bought a multi-million home in Beverly Hills.
‘We don’t accept this explanation. We don’t accept Mr. Hadid’s word for anything.’
Two weeks ago Judge Karlan visited the construction site to see first hand progress on the removal of the home’s illegally-built third floor and pool deck, a partial demolition he had ordered to make the building safer and bring it into line with local planning regulations.
Last week Hadid’s lawyer told the court his client ‘can’t afford’ to pay around $5 million for the demolition, or a $500k fee to pay the receiver. Hadid is the father of young supermodels Bella and Gigi Hadid
Earlier this month, Judge Karlan visited Hadid’s construction site to see first hand the progress on the removal of the home’s illegally-built third floor and pool deck, a partial demolition he had ordered to make the building safer and bring it into line with local planning regulations
In exclusive DailyMail.com photos he was seen at the site pointing out various aspects.
He also wanted to check out neighbors’ claims that illegally graded slopes, unapproved retaining walls and inadequate foundation supports all make the colossal site so ‘frightening’ and ‘precarious’ that Hadid’s own architect said, ‘I’m worried that building will slide down the hill and kill someone.’
The civil case before Judge Karlan is running parallel with a criminal case in which Hadid has already pleaded no contest to illegal construction and is serving three years probation on condition he bring the house into compliance with building regulations – or tear it down – within that time.
Earlier this month LA city prosecutors filed a motion in the criminal case calling for the massive home to be completely demolished by April 1 next year.
The judge in the criminal case, Judge Neetu Badhan-Smith, scheduled a hearing for December 13 to rule on the motion.